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August 13, 2020

Shoeboxes Are a Go in 2020

 As 2020 has seemed such a crazy year, shoeboxes may have gone to the back burner of our minds, and when they pop to the front, some may even question if shoeboxes can still be distributed in a year like this?  Well the answer is: yes, they can!  Samaritian's Purse and Operation Christmas Child are working hard to make collection as safe as possible.  You can read their plans here:  https://www.samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child/covid-19/.  They're also coordinating with their ministry partners in the distributing countries for safely getting shoeboxes to the kids.  I'm sure their health experts are helping them make these decisions, and they should be experts as they're working in multiple continents helping respond to the Covid crisis: https://www.samaritanspurse.org/our-ministry/global-covid-19-response/.   

So, they're working on their end, it's up to us to work on our end.  I'm sure packing parties will be looking different.  The OCC link above has ideas for making packing parties safer.  If you pack as an individual, that removes a few of the variables, but shopping may still be kinda tricky depending on your risk level, and the outbreak level in your area.  Thankfully we got a lot early this year, and were able to get most of the rest online or thru curbside pick-up.  If that doesn't work for you, remember there is an option to build a box online: https://www.samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child/buildonline/

July 27, 2020

Bird Themed Shoebox for 10-14 Year Old Girl Thru Operation Christmas Child

I really enjoyed birds when I was a girl in the 10-14 year old range-even played with the idea of going into the field of ornithology.  I still like birds, so this was fun box to put together.

It started with the Beanie Baby which I said looked like an albino cardinal-much to the amusement of my family.  Then I found the photo/gift box
When I do a theme box, what that means to me is while I stick to my normal list of things to include, I try to find versions of those items that fit the theme.  I may add an extra unique item or two, but on the whole it's the same list, just different types.  My basic list for those interested is:
  • Hygiene supplies (soap & casetoothbrush & case; washcloth; comb)
  • School supplies (lined paper, pens, pencils, sharpener, eraser, ruler, etc.)
  • Art supplies (crayons, watercolors, and/or colored pencils; plain paper and/or coloring book; stickers, etc.)
  • Ball
  • Stuffed Animal
  • Toy
  • Game
  • Something to wear
  • Whistle
  • Some sort of container (maybe a bag or tin)
  • And a family photo (not pictured above)

If you'd like a better look at what exact items I packed in this box, and how I fit it all in, check out this unboxing video I took of it:

For more ideas/fun boxes, check out other shoeboxes we packed for 10-14 year old girls or our themed boxes!

February 27, 2020

Crochet Flower and Heart Pins Instructions

Small handcrafted accessories are great to add to an Operation Christmas Child shoebox and these crochet flower and heart pins are perfect to tuck in a corner of a box.  Chelle, from Chelle's Caybees, wrote up these instructions for the ones her mom Vickie makes and donates to our packing each year.

We have packed literally hundreds of these in our OCC shoeboxes.  We have used many to share with the seniors and shut ins of our church, too (check out our Facebook page if interested in helping the elderly:  Serving Seniors and Shut Ins).  We also tuck them into pencil cases for fillers we send (see The Pencil Granny and Friends on Facebook for details of packing school supplies to donate as fillers if you are interested).

Crochet Heart Pins

Supplies:  small amounts of Worsted Weight Yarn and an F Hook (I usually use 1-2 sizes down to make it tight) I used an H hook here so the stitches would show better.


Chain 4 , slip stitch to form ring (you can also chose your favorite beginning like magic circle, etc)

Chain 2 (counts as first stitch)then place 10 more double crochets into the circle (you can also do singles or half doubles for a smaller center). Join with a slip stitch into top of beginning chain 2. (11 stitches)

Chain 2 and 2 double crochets in first stitch
2 double crochets in next stitch
1 double and 1 half double in next stitch
2 half doubles in next stitch
1 half double in next stitch

Next is the bottom “point”
Place 1 half double, 1 double and 1 half double

Now 1 half double in next stitch
2 half doubles in next stitch
1 half double  and 1 double in the next stitch
2 doubles in next stitch
2 doubles in final stitch

To finish slip stitch into bottom of the beginning chain 2

Now just add a pin and decorate as desired!

You can also leave a long tail and sew it onto a hat, headband, etc!

Crochet Flower Pins

Supplies:  small amounts of Worsted Weight Yarn and an F Hook (I usually use 1-2 sizes down to make it tight) I used an H hook here so the stitches would show better.


Chain 4, slip stitch to form ring

Chain 2 (counts as first stitch) and add 5 half doubles into ring to form center of flower (you can do doubles if you want a larger center) 6 total stitches

*Chain 2, 2 double crochets into same stitch, slip stitch into next stitch, repeat from * in the remaining stitches to create 6 petals.

After reaching final petal slip stitch into beginning stitch to close off the petals

Add pin and decorate as desired.

Same as the heart you can add to just about anything!

Above are hearts Chelle added to preemie hats she donated to Preemies of the Carolinas.
She left the pins and decorations off and just used the hearts.

If you are looking for more crochet patterns for kids, check out all of our Crochet for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes Tutorials.  For sewing tutorials and more see our Crafting for OCC Index PageAnd if you craft more than you can pack in your own boxes, or would just like to donate crafted items for shoebox packing, check out this article I wrote on Five Ways to Donate Handcrafted Items to Operation Christmas Child.

$1 Craft Supplies at Dollar Tree!

November 15, 2019

How I Pack an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox

I took a couple videos recently to show how I pack a shoebox.  Now, remember-this is not the "right way", just my way I'm sharing in case it helps others.

The first video shows how I pick items:

The second video shows how I make the items fit:

Now, if you want to be sure you're packing shoeboxes the "right way" check out my post: How to Correctly Pack a Shoebox.

October 25, 2019

2019 Shoebox Packing

I haven't had much time to write blog posts of late, so I wanted to share a couple videos I made recently showing how we're packing shoeboxes this year.

First, here's out packing party set-up:

And here's selecting items for one shoebox (turned out to be for a 5-9 girl):

Here's more examples of 5-9 girl shoeboxes we've packed.

October 22, 2019

2019 Girls Shoeboxes

Hi All!

If you don't follow my Simply Shoeboxes YouTube channel you may have missed out on seeing some of the shoeboxes we've gotten packed so far this year!  I've done a quick, informal video of one of each age group...check them out below!

2-4 Girl:

5-9 Girl:

10-14 Girl:

If you're packing boy boxes, you can get some ideas from past shoeboxes we've packed for boys!

Disclosure: Links on Simply Shoeboxes may be affiliate partners or referrals.